We've been in a yeasty revolution at our house recently. Although I used to resist anything yeast-based with the rationale that it took too long and was just too "fiddly", now everything and anything we make seems to involve yeast. I originally turned to flatbreads based specifically on their lack of yeast and the speed which I could make them; however, here we are, in a brave new world, in which I find a flatbread dough quietly rising in the corner of the kitchen two hours before dinner. But there's a reason for all this yeasty madness. Yeast-based stuff is good. Like, really good. Worked properly, it gives a fluffy quality that most of my quick flatbreads, forced to rise with nothing but baking powder and my lazy intentions, failed to capture. So I happily throw this dough together, even on weeknights. It's just too good and, really, too easy not to.
There are about a million variations on this recipe. We really like the combination of rosemary, pepper, and gruyere (mostly because it happened to be immediately available when we first made them), but really you can add anything to the basic dough. Just be careful of adding anything too wet to the dough, as that will affect its rise and overall consistency.
Makes: About 8-10 flatbreads
Time: 15 minutes active time, plus 2 hours for rising
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (about room temperature)
3 1/4 cups white bread flour (We used Whole Foods Hard All Purpose White Flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the griddle
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, cut fine
1/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and 3/4 cup warm water. Let it stand about 5 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and/or starts to look frothy. Add remaining 1/2 cup of the water, along with the flour, sugar, salt, black pepper, rosemary, and olive oil. Mix together until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until firm, about 3-4 minutes (this really shouldn't take long).
Lightly oil a bowl and place your kneaded dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place. Let it rise until doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.
Divide dough into roughly 8-10 pieces. Roll each dough out until it's a 1/5 inch (give or take) circle. Sprinkle the gruyere onto each piece.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or other frying pan on high, coating with about 1 tablespoon or more of olive oil. Add each dough piece to griddle, making sure not to crowd them. Cook the flatbreads until they puff up slightly and start to bubble and brown (This usually takes about 1-2 minutes). Turn them over and continue to cook- about 1 minute more.
Remove from the heat and continue cooking the rounds, adding more oil to the pan as needed. You don't want to add too much oil to the pan, otherwise you may end up "frying" your flatbreads rather than cooking them. Watch out for little bubbles around the sides of the flatbreads where the dough is interacting with the oil- this may mean you have too much oil in the pan.